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This Week in JAMA: Nov 2, 2011

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In JAMA this week, a group of researchers reports on a randomized, controlled trial with 154,901 participants that sought to determine the effect of annual lung cancer screening with modern radiographs on mortality. The group reports that “there is not a substantial lung cancer mortality benefit from lung cancer screening with 4 annual chest radiographs.” A related editorial notes that the results of this study match with one published earlier in the year. “The PLCO trial is another important step, confirming expectations rather than setting new ones,” it says.

Also in JAMA, researchers in Massachusetts report on the association of moderate alcohol consumption and drinking patterns with relative risk of developing invasive breast cancer. The study was part of the long-running Nurses' Health Study. “Our data demonstrated that even consumption of alcohol as low as 5 to 9.9 g per day (3-6 glasses of wine per week) may be associated with a modest increase in risk,” the authors write. An editorial discussing the work adds that “exploration of the risk-benefit relationships between low levels of alcohol consumption and all-cause and cause-specific morbidities and mortalities might be the topic of future analyses of the Nurses' Health Study and other prospective cohort studies.”

Finally, another group reports that recipients of solid organ transplants have increased cancer risk. The study looked at data from 175,732 kidney, liver, heart, or lung transplants and incidence of cancer. “We observed a 2-fold overall increased risk of cancer, corresponding to an EAR attributable to transplantation of approximately 0.7% per year. The spectrum of cancer risk was broad, including numerous infection-related and unrelated malignancies,” the researchers write.

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